ANC moves to reassure farmers on land grabs

ANC leaders including Paul Mashatile, David Mabuza and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the land summit in Bela Bela.
ANC leaders including Paul Mashatile, David Mabuza and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the land summit in Bela Bela.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The government's move towards expropriation of land without compensation is the main reason farmers do not trust the state.

This was one issue which came up during the land summit, organised by AgriSA and a number of organisations, in Bela-Bela, Limpopo, yesterday.

Farmers also raised concerns about what they called populist policies by the EFF, uncoordinated policies and lack of expertise to deal with the issue of land.

The EFF's stance on land is that all land should be transferred to the ownership and custodianship of the state.

Roelf Meyer, a key negotiator in SA's transition to democracy and a former National Party cabinet minister, told Sowetan on the sidelines of the summit that there was a disconnect between the government and farmers.

Meyer said he had been talking to the white farmers to find how they can work with government on land redistribution.

Meyer said the ANC's resolution to expropriate land without compensation has stirred emotions among farmers. However, he said there was not sufficient progress in land reform in the past 24 years.

In his speech, Mabuza moved to allay farmers' fears, saying the land reform processes pose no direct threat to the agriculture sector and the economy as a whole.

"As the leadership of the ANC and government, we are clear that the implementation of land reform measures must not result in social fractures and racial polarisation. Our farmers must continue to invest in their farms and increase production while extending a hand of collaboration with government."

In an indirect attack on the EFF, deputy president David Mabuza, who was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as chairman of an inter-ministerial committee on land reform, said the ANC would not support land grabs.

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